The 85th Academy Awards pre-show starts in less than 24 hours, meaning the drama over red carpet fashion, controversial speeches, and the winners will all be over soon. There's plenty of open categories, a few sure-fire winners, and a heaping helping of recognition doled out to a mercurial figure in foreign film, so for those curious about the outcome or looking for some last minute help in their Oscars pool, I will submit my predictions.
Every link below leads to my review of the film. The first eleven categories are the ones I classify as major categories; for these, I get 10 points for a win, 5 for a darkhorse win, and 2.5 in categories where I’ve selected two darkhorses. The final ten, marked by dashes, are minor categories. For each of these, I get 5 points only in the case of a direct win. I won’t include Live Action Short Film, Animated Short Film, and Short Subject Documentary since I have not seen them.
The maximum total of points I can achieve is 170. When the Academy Awards were announced last year, I guaranteed an 80% or better success rate on my picks and ended up getting 74%. This year, I'm aiming to exceed 80%, which means I must accumulate at least 136 points. After the ceremony, I will post the winners with my success rate.
As the awards approach, it could never be clearer that Argo will win this one with victories at the PGA, DGA, WGA, BAFTAs, and the newest clear-cut indicator with Best Cast at SAG.
You will never see the category this wide open again. The presumptive Best Picture winner isn’t even represented, so it could go to anyone, but David O. Russell gets the edge for Silver Linings Playbook due to the Weinstein connection. The dark horses are Spielberg for Lincoln and Haneke for Amour in that order.
Daniel Day-Lewis has owned this category since he was cast in Lincoln. This is as sure a thing as Best Picture
Jennifer Lawrence looks to take home this award by way of Silver Linings Playbook with an edge given thanks to Winter’s Bone. Though she looks like a lock, the dark horse is Emmanuelle Riva for Amour, who pretty much blew away every other actor or actress this year.
Best Supporting Actor:
This category is by no means a runaway, but Tommy Lee Jones of Lincoln is most definitely the front runner due to his SAG win. The dark horse, again due to the Weinstein connection, is Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook.
Best Supporting Actress:
Anne Hathaway has no competition in this category for her performance in Les Misérables.
Best Original Screenplay:
Surprisingly, this one is a little tough. Quentin Tarantino has taken a couple of big awards suggesting a token win for Django Unchained, but Mark Boal might have the same momentum for Zero Dark Thirty as the dark horse.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Chris Terrio seems to have this one locked for Argo, especially with the WGA win, but if the Weinstein connection wave starts early, David O. Russell might pull a huge dark horse upset for Silver Linings Playbook.
Best Documentary Feature:
With wins at DGA, WGA, and BAFTA, Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn are going to win for Searching for Sugarman.
With the love being poured out for 3D filmmaking the past few years (Avatar and Hugo beat out the usual barometer ASC winners) Life of Pi has Claudio Miranda in position as the frontrunner. However, Skyfall’s presence in the award show and the fact that Roger Deakins is one of the most nominated cinematographers in history without a win may give him enough of a bulge for a dark horse victory.
Best Foreign Language Film:
Michael Haneke will win for Amour. The fact that the film is nominated in five categories says all you need to know about this category.
- Best Animated Feature Film:
For the first time in a few years, the winner is not guaranteed. Brave has an edge over dark horse Wreck-It Ralph.
- Best Production Design:
Standard period picture rules apply, and Anna Karenina should be expected to win as it beat out Les Misérables at the ADG, but dark horse Life of Pi might clean up in the design categories.
- Best Film Editing:
Traditionally the Best Picture winner also gets this category, and Argo will be no exception.
- Best Original Score:
This one’s wide open; Life of Pi and Skyfall are a dead heat, but Life of Pi takes the lead.
- Best Original Song:
It might not have enough momentum to hold off Les Misérables, but Skyfall is my choice.
- Best Costume Design:
With two period films in the same year it's always tough to pick one over the other, but Anna Karenina should beat out Les Misérables.
- Best Sound Mixing:
- Best Sound Editing:
Life of Pi should take this as well, but if someone else wins Sound Mixing, look for them to take this one too.
- Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
Les Misérables will run away with this one only because it doesn't have Anna Karenina to kick it around.
- Best Visual Effects:
This category is guaranteed for Life of Pi.
E-mail Bryan at ExaminerFilm@gmail.com for questions, advice, opinions, and suggestions. Questions, advice, and opinions may be posted anonymously. Follow Bryan on Twitter at ExaminerFilm and on Facebook at FilmExaminer.